Monday Blues – if you haven’t heard of the term yet, you will do soon. More and more HR and employee engagement teams are becoming aware of an increase in employee illnesses and Monday Blues.
Now it may not seem like a big deal, but more of us are dealing with Monday Blues and a tendency towards presenteeism which is affecting our performance and general health within the workplace.
the data around Monday Blues
HR Zone discusses the research into Monday Blues by ELAS that outlines that Monday’s are the peak day of the week for absentee rates, doubling that of Friday. This survey found that 21.4% of employees call in sick on Monday’s compared to the 12.2% who have called in sick on a Friday.
However, UK businesses are seeing the lowest average absence day rates since records began – 4.3 in 2016 versus 7.9 in 1993. Now, this sounds great, but when you consider the growing levels of presenteeism and the fact that the UK is suffering from the lowest productivity rates since records began, it’s clear to see why we should look at ways to overcome Monday Blues.
causes of Monday Blues
We’ve done some research of our own to find out what causes Monday Blues and simple strategies that can be implemented to compliment employee engagement plans.
creating a positive working environment
A common feature within today’s workplace is instilling a culture that inspires and motivates its employees. As we now know, the majority of our workplace consists of the millennial generation (35-45%). This is a generation who look for reward outside of monetary value, they look for a ‘feeling of purpose’, fun and creativity, whilst also showing impatience and an entrepreneurial spirit.
As more and more millennials and Generation Z’s join our workforce, their short-attention spans, impatience and desires to see continual growth will have a real impact on the working environment, as well as influence their older peers.
We can’t give everyone everything they desire, but we can blend together their needs with business goals to achieve a middle ground.
Start by putting together an internal survey asking some questions that can help get the answers you need. Take time in ‘one-to-one meetings’ to speak to employees on a personal level about their drivers, what they’re looking for in their working life and ways in which the company can help them achieve their goals. This shows empathy, and value towards your team members and nothing means more to us than knowing we ‘matter’.
We can all create a fun environment to look at – we can buy games consoles, bean-bags and breakfast bars. This helps, but more importantly, you need to work towards creating an open and forward-thinking culture that encourages idea sharing. If we feel like our ideas are valued we will look forward to coming into work.
Collaboration is also key! There’s no better feeling than being part of a team and helping each other. The feelings we derive from these activities help increase our happiness within the workplace. Build a collaborative culture, where teams stick together and work towards the great goal of the business!
building working relationships
A real cause of Monday Blues can be working relationships. This could be either a need to develop working relationships or a particular colleague creating a hostile working environment. It’s our duty as leaders to identify opportunities for relationship building within the team as well as with other parts of the business.
Mix your teams up! Often, you see the same faces working on projects, so if you can, mix it up where applicable. This encourages people to get to know their colleagues in a more organic way, and this is where the best working relationships are formed. Furthermore, this removes siloed working environments and that’s a bonus for every team and manager, believe me.
Now in order to tackle the sensitive subject of a difficult colleague, patience and perseverance are key. Take time to really understand all of the details and circumstances around why a team member is behaving in a certain way. Then, when we have all the facts, we can make judgements on the best way to approach the subject. Remember, however, there may be some external factors which they do not wish to divulge and we must consider these; once you have decided a course of action, you may want to safety check this with another colleague that you trust or HR.
increasing our leadership skills
It’s hard for leaders to look at themselves and critique their performance, and It can be even harder to take criticism or feedback from your team. Opening yourself up to feedback can help improve; communication, transparency and again, working relationships.
Leadership is often described as a skill that can be acquired, and not something we’re born with, so we can always better ourselves as leaders. Training and development in leadership are provided worldwide, and there are also plenty of resources online to help us grow as leaders. There aren’t any excuses for us not to work on ourselves, to help benefit others.
Working with mindful leadership separates the good leaders from the great ones. Being centred Being centred can help you build unbiased and strong relationships with your teams. They’ll be more open to coming to you for advice, help or with a problem. You’ll also be more receptible to opinions and feedback, rather than disregarding it!
learning and development
Ask around, you may be surprised that the majority of your team are very interested in learning and development. Everyone likes to stay mentally stimulated and continue learning; it’s what keeps us interested in our roles. Your team will be no different, and this relates to our inner purpose and desires from work. We will often seek roles and employers who do value their employees in order to achieve our goals.
We need to commit to learning and development of the team and we could approach this by implementing development plans.
Be the forward-thinking, thoughtful and the leading company we all strive to be. Ensure that teams are encouraged to do research during working hours, let them read watch and take notes, in order to grow. Put them on training courses and watch their skills develop over time and add value to your business.
Teach them what you know! As a great leader, there is nothing more inspiring to a team member, than their line manager helping them. This is an inspirational way to grow your leadership skills and create strong internal relationships with your team.
growth and career opportunities
We all strive to grow, to learn and to build careers that suit our career goals, and you need to support their aspirations and help open up opportunities to help them achieve their goals. This will drive motivation, productivity and engagement.
Be honest! Let your team/prospective teams know if there aren’t any career growth opportunities right now. Transparency will attract the right people to help you grow, drive performance and productivity.
It’s also good to remember to communicate the importance of patience. Who knows what the future holds for individuals and companies? A merger, expansion or another team member leaving can open up all sorts of career opportunities. Communicate this along with the above, you’ll establish a better, more productive place to work along with decreasing Monday Blues.